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As part of her campaign for Montgomery County Executive, Nancy Floreen has been talking a lot about Israel lately.
Yes, read that sentence again. It doesn't make much sense why someone running to lead a large county in Maryland would be talking about Israel, but it's one of the absurdities of American politics that when a politician does this it doesn't raise any eyebrows.
Last Monday October 8th, Nancy Floreen attended a candidate forum at a B'nai Tzadek temple in Potomac, MD. She was asked what relationship she wants Montgomery County to have with Israel. In response she said that "Israel stands as sort of a Middle Eastern leader when we are talking about the rights of others". Watch the video above to see this stunningly tone-deaf statement. Here's the transcript:
Thank you. I've already alluded to several things I've done historically. My husband's father was Jewish and he has cousins in Israel and actually, ironically we were planning our trip to Israel when this campaign began. So I look forward to going there with a crew further in the spring.
A couple things that I would say is that Israel stands as really a Middle Eastern leader when we are talking about the rights of others. About the LGBTQ groups, about the people who have other challenges. And I think that's something we can share together as we go forward. And I will say I won’t align myself with any group that is anti-Israel. I don't think that helps us moving forward. I don't think that reflects who we are. And I don't think that helps us create strong ties with friends. That's a big challenge I see as we go [inaudible]. There are those groups out there that regrettably feel hate and disrespect and the lack of support for each other.
I think we need to bring people together. I think we need to work -- to the extent we can -- with all our members of our community. That's the great thing about Montgomery County. We've got someone from every country in the world. We've got someone with deep-seated views, religious views, political views. And I think you need a leader [to] bring people together who won’t allow the demonization of any one group. We are a challenging county but we are a great county. And together we can really do a lot of great things.
And last month at another candidate forum, Nancy Floreen, announced that as County Executive, her first overseas trip would be to Israel. She said she wanted to go there because its the "Startup Nation" and she wants to recruit business from there. Why not go to UK, Canada or France? There are lots of start-ups there too. In fact, Silicon Valley (in the good ol' USA!) is the internationally renowned center of the start up companies. Why ignore California in favor of Israel?
Nancy Floreen: I’m the one as Marc has alluded to who’s led the drive to privatize how we were doing economic development in Montgomery County as I long felt that way we weren't doing enough. We needed to be more nimble, more creative and more imaginative in how we define Montgomery County and told the world -- and frankly our community at large -- that we wanted the world to invest here, that we wanted to encourage the growth of business. At the end of the day, it's the tone that’s set at the top of county government that says to investors, that says to businesses that “You are welcome. We will find ways to support you”. I am going to be emphasizing very aggressively our work on expanding opportunities around the FDA in the eastern part of the county. That's something that my colleague here was not supportive of in terms of the deal we cut to make that happen. We need to be creative. We have to work with the state to find the right incentives to get the right kinds of businesses here. Small and large, they all matter. And we need to fill the space. There's no question about that. And create opportunities for success.
Moderator: And how would you do that? I’ll give you thirty seconds for that
Nancy Floreen: Well I’m going to be a major champion. I said this earlier: We are going to make it very clear that Montgomery County is supportive of the business environment. That is not the reputation we have.
Nancy Floreen: By being there. By being out and present in the community. By speaking with the Board of Trade. I've already talked about our first international trip. I expect to be going to Israel in the spring. That's the Start-up Nation! They have recommendations and ideas that we can benefit from as we move forward. We're going to look at the best ideas across the country as to how I can make a difference. Because that’s critical to expanding our tax base.
If you think these statements by Nancy Floreen are unacceptable, please click here to send her (and her opponents) an email letting them know that Palestinian rights count.